Gauteng MEC devastated over death of two Soweto learners after consuming poisonous biscuits

Gauteng Education MEC Matome Chiloane .Picture: Timothy Bernard African News Agency (ANA)

Gauteng Education MEC Matome Chiloane .Picture: Timothy Bernard African News Agency (ANA)

Published Oct 4, 2023


It is alleged that four children purchased biscuits at a local shop and started vomiting afterwards.

Two of the children died, while two others were still in critical condition at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital.

On Tuesday, in a statement, Gauteng Education MEC Matome Chiloane sent condolences to the families, saying he was devastated by the death of two of the Soweto learners.

One of the boys was a Grade 1 learner from Kgauhelo Primary School, while another was a learner from Karabo Primary School.

Two other Grade 1 girl learners from Ikemeleng Primary School are currently in a critical condition and are receiving medical care at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital after allegedly eating these snacks from the same spaza shop as well.

These learners all reportedly ate biscuits and drank juice that they purchased from a specific spaza shop in their vicinity.

It is alleged that their health began deteriorating after eating these goods, which resulted in two of them being hospitalised and two others passing away.

On Monday, police spokesperson Dimakatso Nevhuhulwi said the police in Gauteng have opened an inquest docket following the incident.

“We request the community's support and understanding during this challenging period, also pleading for parents to be extra vigilant of what their children consume, and safeguard of their wellbeing,” the MEC said.

Chiloane said extra care should be taken to safe-guard children from unsafe foods to ensure that such an incident does not happen again.

“This incident serves as a grave reminder to parents and guardians to exercise utmost caution when it comes to the safety and wellbeing of our learners. It is imperative that we remain vigilant and ensure that our children are not exposed to harmful substances. We will continue to work closely with law enforcement agencies to investigate this matter thoroughly. We wish to extend our sincerest condolences to the affected families and wish the two hospitalised learners a speedy recovery,” the MEC said.